I know this may shock you but…Scott actually never reads my blog posts, I know its hard to believe!… But, you must understand, he’s not an especially chatty kind of guy and reading my blog is, to him (I’m only guessing , he’s never actually said this to me!) , kinda like listening to me chat, which he gets the privilege of doing quite frequently in real life! I know, its hard to believe that he could ever get enough of my jabbering but, he does get to listen to me chatting away all the time, so ,there’s no need for him to read my long winded writings…Pffffffft! In light of this fact…. It’s safe to brag a little about the guy. He’ll never know! And he’d kill me if he read this! Believe it or not, he’s a pretty humble guy, not a bragger at all. But not me, I’m so gosh darn proud of him I just want the world to know! Hah! So, if you run into him in town…mums the word! Now that we’ve established that this is a ‘secret’ post just between you and me….Let the bragfest begin!
So, here it goes…When we moved to Panama with the grand scheme to build our own house, the truth is, I didn’t actually realize that Scott would be building the house completely himself, with his own two hands…without a contractor. I think he was being very diplomatic by letting me believe we would hire a local Panamanian contractor to build the shell of the structure and then we would do all the finish work our selves. This plan was doable in my mind. I would never have gone for the idea that he would do what he has done. (Truth be told, I’m lovin’ it too!) I would have been terribly nervous about how we would ever find workers and materials and professionals to help with building and getting permits and inspections and such. How would we tackle such a Herculean task without even speaking Spanish? How would we know where to buy materials? How would we know what the laws were and what rules there are for building in Panama? Where would we possibly find workers to work with you? Honestly, I could go on and on with my worries. Not Scott though! Nooooo, Scott’s anything but a worrier!
In my 15 years history with Scott I’ve witnessed him dive into projects without ever having any experience and achieve amazing things. He thrives on learning and when he’s never done something he has a tendency to want to do it even more. I’ve noticed in my husband, a lack of ever having any self-doubt (at least none that I’ve been able to see). This character trait is not one of ego. Its a unique way he has of just quietly enjoying the process of doing something he’s never done before, and learning as he goes along. Not ever letting his lack of knowledge stop him from diving into something he thinks looks fun or interesting. He loves a challenge. Even when or maybe ‘especially when’, others around him cast their own endless fears or doubts out in front of him, it just seems to motivate him even more to continue down his own path. This is one of the many attributes I love about him. While simultaneously being one thing about him that can absolutely drive me crazy! hah!
I’ve noticed that when most people talk about how they built their own home, what they mean by that is that they worked with an architect, hired a contractor and oversaw the arduous process of their home being built. Most people, it would seem, find enough gratification in only that much of the process and they feel as though that was more than enough pain and suffering they cared to endure. There are endless things about building a home that are not fun and even downright torturous. And I’ll admit I fantasize about what it must feel like to experience the process like most people do, with someone else being in charge of doing all the heavy lifting and coordinating. But, alas it is not to be for me….My husband is a Renaissance Man! My crazy husband is in his element and enjoying life to it’s fullest when he’s neck deep in a project exactly like the one we are currently working on. And truth be told, I may grumble and wish for an easier way to get things done faster and with much less pain, possibly even a tiny bit of immediate gratifications! But, I will admit that I too love the feeling of creating something together. Creating a home that is a reflection of us and having a project to work on as a team is rewarding in ways I don’t even have words to express. But, I still like to roll my eyes once in awhile as I live amongst what feels like endless construction and disarray ! Ugh! Dreaming of the day when its all done…PffffffT….done? Hah! That’ll never happen!
He may be tired and at times frustrated even overwhelmed, though he’d never admit it . He may loose sleep some nights when a particularly difficult problem has him deep in problem solving mode. There are times when I wonder if he’s gotten himself into a project that is just too big for him to realistically tackle all on his own. And then he starts the next day with his normal quiet confidence and unending patience and manages to overcome whatever it was that had him stumped the day before. I marvel at his ability to figure out an answer to absolutely any obstacle that comes his way. This, I believe is what keeps him going and what makes him thrive as a human being…facing obstacles, finding answers and learning how to solve a problem or accomplish a task all on his own. It’s like a game to him a game where he uses strategy, logic and problem solving skills to get to the next level.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mistakenly said..”Can’t we just find someone to hire to do that?” Oh my goodness, when those words come out of my mouth I seriously think that’s when the hair on the back of his neck stands up and his stubborn streak comes rushing to the surface! It’s like a little kid who says..”I’ll do it myself!” hah! And through the years I’ve learned not to ask the most hated question anyone can ask him…”When will it be done?” (eye roll!) I often quietly wonder if he even wants to reach the end of a project. Scott is in his element when he’s got a project to focus on. Seemingly never really worried about when it will be done. His pat answer to that question he loves to say is…”It’ll be done when it’s done” said with a shrug of his shoulders, an evil look in his eye and a grin on his bearded face. I sometimes suspect he really secretly doesn’t want to be done.
I can’t tell you how many people have said to us, “This is great, but I wouldn’t want to be you!” It’s true, there are few people who would want to dive into to such a huge project. Not to mention tackling a project such as Scott has done when he has to communicate in a language he’s only just began to learn! I’m amazed at his ability to comprehend what’s being said to him much of the time. I think he understands wayyyyyy more than he has the ability to actually say. But he somehow manages to communicate with seemingly great success. At times I’ve seen people look at him like a deer in headlights, having no clue what the Gringo just said. And he just tries again until he manages to find the right words to get his point across. His construction Spanish is improving all the time and lately he seems to have less and less trouble talking to all the different people he needs to talk to each day.
There have been many different challenges that Scott has had to overcome. Starting with getting materials up to our property. I’ve mentioned in many of my posts about the difficulty all the delivery trucks have in getting up to our property. More than ‘difficulty’ really. Basically, if a vehicle doesn’t have 4 wheel drive, its not making it up to the property at all. Especially during the rainy season. So, Scott, with his unending supply of patience and endurance has taken all the sand, rock, cement roofing material, rebar, early on, water, and much much more, load by load in his little truck up to the job site. He even rigged up a way to transport huge 40 foot steel beams one by one all the way up the hill. Sheesh! I’m often blown away by his ingenuity and by his constant ability to figure out a way to accomplish things that I often find myself doubting there is any way to accomplish! I’m such a poo-pooer! I swear! Why I still doubt him, I have noooooooo idea! Sheesh! 🙂 In the end, Scott never stops surprising me with his problem solving skills that just seem to have no limits!! Never, have I heard him say “ I can’t do that” or “That can’t be done”. Never ever, have I seen Scott give up or fail to find a way to do anything he sets his mind to do. He may have to do it a little bit differently or he may have to find a solution that he’s not pleased with, but he doesn’t give up and he finds some solution in the end. I admire my husbands way of thinking and his unending confidence in his own ability to accomplish anything he sets his mind to. He truly inspires me.
Is that enough bragging for one blog post? Yeah, maybe….I hope my love and admiration for Scott is what comes through in my words. I’m not looking to impress or to be annoyingly sappy about my dear guy. I just think that what Scott is doing is just so impressive and I had to share my amazement with you. I know, its true… my ability and even ‘desire’ to join him in this massive house building project is maybe a little bit crazy as well. Not every woman wants to go along with this kind of project. We are just so right for each other in that way. I may have my reservations about some of the crazy plans we end up pursuing, but once I decide that I’m ‘In’, I’m ALL IN! And with this project, building our new home in Panama, I’m enjoying the experience every bit as much as Scott is enjoying it. It’s not the easiest way to go about starting a new life. It’s not the fastest way to have a new house. There are plenty of already built houses here in Boquete that we could have bought. But had we gone that route we would be doing just what we did in Los Altos, gutting a house and totally remodeling every inch of it to make it what we want! Ugh! Apparently that’s just how we roll! Hah! Isnt is just so great that we all have choices and we get to go down a life path that we find rewarding and that makes us all happy ? I hope you marvel at yourself and or your partner and that you find greatness in the people you love. If you really pay attention to those around you I bet there’s lots to brag about and lots to admire cuz’ life is full of exceptional people doing amazing things!